Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed... read more
Ink Exchange is an urban fantasy novel written by Melissa Marr. It is set in the same universe as Marr's previous novel, Wicked Lovely, but is not a sequel; rather, it is a companion novel that focuses on a different set of characters. Though only a companion novel, its plot elements connect... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Ink Exchange is an urban fantasy novel written by Melissa Marr. It is set in the same universe as Marr's previous novel, Wicked Lovely, but is not a sequel; rather, it is a companion novel that focuses on a different set of characters. Though only a companion novel, its plot elements connect chronologically to Marr's following novel, Fragile Eternity.
The prologue of Ink Exchange revisits a scene from Wicked Lovely narrated by Irial, King of the Dark Court, in which he walks into a tattoo shop with Leslie, a 17 year-old human. The novel then follows Leslie as she prepares for a normal day of school. Leslie's alcoholic father and Ren, her drug-dealing brother, neglect her. Having once been drugged and raped by Ren's customers, Leslie fears her family, yet still helps pay the bills by working as a waitress. When Leslie reaches school, she is suspicious of how well Aislinn, the protagonist from Wicked Lovely, has adjusted to her new life as a human. Aislinn, though partly human, is the Summer Queen in the world of the fey, which she tries desperately to keep from Leslie.
The novel then begins to follow Irial. It is revealed that the Dark Court feeds off emotions such as anger, hate, and pain to stay strong. When one of his own is killed by a simple human bullet, Irial is desperate for a way to protect his kind. With the help of his "left hand" Gabriel and his pack of "Hounds," he keeps his own and other courts in check. When confronted with numerous rebellions, Irial decides to pursue an ink exchange with a mortal to provide a constant stream of emotion to feed his court. When Leslie, the chosen mortal, gets a tattoo, the traditional tattoo ink is exchanged with the Dark Court's blood and tears, thereby joining the Dark King and the mortal.
Soon, as an effect of the ink exchange, Leslie begins to feel and see as Irial would, seeing past faeries' human disguises. When she falls in love with Niall, who she knows to be a faerie, she avoids admitting her connection to his world. Her connection to the faeries deepens when she returns to the tattoo shop and begins to hear Irial's voice in her head. Irial has come to the conclusion that he loves her, and refuses to let any harm come to her. When Leslie goes to a club to celebrate her finished tattoo, Irial begins to speak through her to deflect the advances of other faeries. In the club, Irial and Leslie finally unite, connected by a shadow vine that represents the ink exchange. Niall, still in love, soon tells Leslie that he can help her break the bond with Irial, should she ever want to.
Over the next few weeks, Leslie blurs in and out of consciousness, incapable of leaving Irial's side for more than a minute. When Leslie begins to understand that Irial is feeding on her negative emotions, leaving her incapable of feeling them, she realizes he has taken away her freedom to live. In an attempt to produce in Leslie more pain to feed his court, Irial and his faeries murder several human companions at once, displaying them in scenes from plays, a gross attempt at humor. When Leslie asks Niall to help free her, he uses sunlight and frost taken from the Winter and Summer Queens to burn and freeze the link and the tattoo off Leslie.
Before restoring her human life and leaving the faerie world behind, Leslie goes to Irial one last time, asking him never to use the ink exchange on another human again. He solemnly agrees. The novel ends with both Irial and Niall watching Leslie and her new human friends.
“What does it mean when nightmares dream of peace? When shadows wish for light?”
“Sometimes love means letting go when you want to hold on tighter.”Irial's thoughts
“He looked good, like sin in a suit.”
What does it mean when nightmares dream of peace? When shadows wish for light?Highlighted by 87 Kindle customers
Sometimes love means letting go when you want to hold on tighter.Highlighted by 78 Kindle customers
Sometimes there’s power in the act; sometimes there’s strength in words.Highlighted by 60 Kindle customers
We are what we are, Niall, neither as good or as evil as others paint us. And what we are doesn’t change how truly we feel, only how free we are to follow those feelings.”Highlighted by 60 Kindle customers
“Do you ever wonder if what you look at is the same thing everyone else is seeing?”Highlighted by 48 Kindle customers
The things you do when you’re desperate aren’t who you are.”Highlighted by 46 Kindle customers
It was a choice. She could look at the ugliness, the oddities, the wrongness, or she could let herself enjoy life.Highlighted by 36 Kindle customers
It’s an amazing thing when two people’s muses can dance together.Highlighted by 35 Kindle customers
inky-black eyes gazed up from within black-and-gray knotwork surrounded by wings like coalescing shadows, and in the middle was a chaos star. Eight arrows pointed away from the center; four of these were thicker, like the lines of a spiked cross.Highlighted by 25 Kindle customers
“A face to meet the faces that we meet,” but not my face—not even the mask I wear for the mortals. Layers of illusions…Highlighted by 24 Kindle customers
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